Undercover in Accra Psychiatric Hospital

Award winning journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas went undercover in Ghana’s Accra Psychiatric Hospital and has published a hard hitting report on the appalling conditions in one of the country’s main institutions for treating mental illness.

In a spectacular piece of investigative reporting Anas posed as a patient, a trader, a baker and a taxi driver and has reported on institution-wide problems that include drug dealing, abuse, maltreatment, thieving, and medical negligence leading to the deaths of patients.

One of the most striking parts of the report is where he notes a few of the staff members who carry out their roles with due diligence and genuine compassion for the patients in the midst of the systemic failure of the institution.

The neglect, abuse and maltreatment of patients by nurses in the hospital remain one of the most disturbing aspects of life within the hospital. On many occasions, this reporter filmed instances where patients suffering severe fits were left to lie at the mercy of the weather, with nurses totally apathetic. Some nurses were captured beating patients who lay on the ground helpless and writhing in pain. On one occasion, a male patient is seen helping a female patient suffering from epilepsy to get on her feet. After many futile attempts to help the ailing girl, the male patient leaves her on the ground close to a nurse’s office and moves on. Minutes later, a nurse passes by without offering any assistance to the patient. Not far from the patient, three nurses could be seen chatting idly as the epileptic patient lies in pain. When help finally arrives, the patient is beaten mercilessly by the nurses amidst shouts of “get up”, “foolish girl”, “if we beat her she would get up”.

The attitude of nurses is generally so outrageous that the hard work and conscientious disposition of Ken Wholley Brantuo, Alex Baah and a few others shone forth like torch in pitch- darkness.

Francisca Ntow, a young nurse at the hospital epitomised the spirit of care and love that accompanies nursing. With beaming smiles each day, she tries her best to give attention to patients and to find out their state of being. Her shining example gives hope to the future of psychiatric nursing in the country.

If you check out nothing else I recommend listening to a gripping interview with Anas where he discusses his undercover investigation on Ghana’s Super Morning Show

His follow-up piece on abuse of people with mental illness by traditional healers and prayer camps is also a powerful piece of reporting.

Probably one of the most remarkable pieces of mental health reporting you are likely to encounter for a very long time. Truly excellent work.

Link to Exposed: Inside Ghana’s “Mad House” (via TWS).
Link to interview with Anas Aremeyaw Anas on his investigation.
Link to ‘Investigative report: Lies of prayer camps and traditional healers’.

3 thoughts on “Undercover in Accra Psychiatric Hospital”

  1. Thanks Anas for exposing such nurses who keep abusing their clients. As psychiatric nurses we are suppose to show love and comparsion just as we were thought to do during our trainning.
    Francisca Ntow thanks and God bless you for showing comparsion to these precious ones, may you be rewarded.

  2. Dear Anna,

    I will write my PhD in the field of Mental Health in Accra, Ghana and would love to exchange some experiences and ideas with you! Please conact me via email, I am looking forward to hear from you!

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